Skip to comments.Burma signs deal to dig up buried World War II planes
Posted on 10/17/2012 9:16:22 AM PDT by DFG
Burma has signed a deal with a British aviation enthusiast to allow the excavation of a World War II treasure: dozens of Spitfire fighter planes buried by the British almost 70 years ago.
Aviation enthusiast David J. Cundall discovered the locations of the aircraft after years of searching. The planes are believed to be in good condition, since they were reportedly packed in crates and hidden by British forces to keep them out of the hands of invading Japanese.
The British Embassy said Wednesday that the agreement was reached after discussions between President Thein Sein and British Prime Minister David Cameron during his visit to Burma earlier this year.
The excavation of the rare planes is slated to begin by the end of October.
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
Just, amazing. Wow, this is going to be a fun story!
This is pretty exciting news, as so few of these WWII plane still exist.
How does Myanmar feel about this?
Sixty spitfires is enough for three full squadrons.
60 Spitfires doing a fly-by. That would be fun to see.
“Never have so many owed so much to so few.” I hope they teach history with them.
This should be great! The condition of the planes has to be pretty decent (relatively speaking)if they are in closed crates, and would be even better if some of the parts had grease or cosmoline smeared on them to prevent corrosion...This is wild!
I first thought they were going to go looking for the crews and planes that made up “The Aluminum Highway” - C-46s and C-87s (B-24 cargo var.) - that went down flying “The Hump”.
Have they determined what Mark(s) of Spit these are? I thought they were late war examples buried as the RAF withdrew with the end of hostilities.
It's always been my favorite Battle of Britain book.
I don't think the British had a lot of Spitfires, if any, on the Burma front in 1941-1942. They were using obsolete aircraft such as the Brewster Buffalo fighter and the Vildebeest, a biplane bomber which had entered service in 1928. They were aided by US fliers, flying P-40's, from the American Volunteer Group, later the Fourteenth Air Force, which was based in China.
My dad flew the C-46 as a Hump Pilot.
Since Sir Winston's bust has been removed, I am sure Da-One will not be amused...
BTW, I know a young warbird restorer in my aviation circles. Boy was he geeked when this story broke, the warbird community is jazzed over this to say the least. I think they are salivating at the prospect of some of these getting out to mortals like us....
AFAIK, they’re all Mk 14’s.
35 airworthy at this time. If this article is true and they can be restored, it will triple that number. If they can just put together enough HE111 and ME109’s, they could have re-enact the battle of Britain, lol.
Fox News needs to do better, these planes were not buried to hide them from the Japanese, they were buried in August 45’ in their crates because that was cheaper than sending them back to Britain.
Please ping me to aviation and aerospace articles. Thank you.
In the 80's "Sport Aviation" Magazine gave darn near a full page plea for someone to help confirm or add information to an Old WWII member that claimed the US Government did the same thing and buried something like 1000 Mustangs in the Pacific Theater... I wonder if they are really out their...
Even if there is rust or the engines are seized. All of them are able to be restored with new rubber seals, gaskets and polishing. This is like finding Tut’s tomb....simply give anything to be there when they excavate these beauties!
I used to get Air and Space magazine and it had an article on people who rebuild Merlin v12s several years ago. It was pretty cool but they were saying parts were getting harder to find. Luckily for them, they made a lot of spares. Can you see going into Kragen and asking for a Merlin V-12 head gasket kit?
My anmar is nice and smooth after using Burma Shave on it.
The UK RAF will be thrilled. . .they have active duty pilots flying “active duty” WWII Hurricanes and Spitfires.
What a great assignment, getting assigned to fly the Spitfire or Hurricane.
The unit is based out of RAF Coningsby, channel 48 on your TACAN dial.
(I recall the TACAN channel because back in the 80’s I made an emergency landing in my A-10 at RAF Coningsby. Lost an engine while practicing an emergency single-engine divert to Coningsby. . .timing is everything).
I figured with all of the c&c machines it would be a matter of drawing it in cad and cutting it on the machine. I image the rubber parts would be more tricky. Any way, I am very excited at this find. Too bad the US didn’t bury our inventory rather than destroy it.
How about a Spitfire class at the Reno Air Races. The engines alone would be worth a fortune.
The Brits moved obsolete Spits to the Pacific and new planes became available.
This story came from AP.
Check out these production numbers of various planes from WWII:
Source is Wikipedia.
B-29 = 3970
P51 Mustang all variants = over 15,000
B-17 = 12,731
Spitfire = 20,351
Hawker Hurricanes = 14,533
Avro-Lacaster = 7,377
ME-109 = 33,984
FW-190 = over 20,000
ME-262 = 1,430
Stuka = Estimated 6,500
Zero = 10,939
Obviously that’s a short list of all the planes that were built but considering the incredible numbers of planes built, how many are flying today or even in a static display?
There are 15 B-17’s left flying or static display although didn’t we just lose one?
I’ve only seen one ME-262 and that was at the Smithsonian Air and Space museum and I think Britain has at least one.
The prospect of finding so many Spitfires is a miracle.
Then, there was the B-29 that landed on the ice and a group was working to replace the engines and fly it out and it was part of a documentary. They actually had it taxiing after all four engines were replaced and then the APU wasn’t properly installed and it burned the plane to the ground. It was a tragic loss and a horrible end to the documentary. I’ve only seen it once though. I think they didn’t even recover the engines they had just put on and I think while they were taxiing it, they ended up over a frozen lake so in summer, they figured the remains would end up on the bottom of the lake. I don’t know why the didn’t recover the engines, they looked like they survived. Maybe they were just too depressed to have come so close and have it all go up in smoke in 5 minutes?
I agree that with CNC’s, they can probably produce what they need. I don’t know about rubber parts and things like gaskets and whether they kept the spares they manufactured. Seeing as how they decommissioned so many planes, I don’t know why they’d keep the spares but they did for the Merlin V-12. I guess they were still using the engine and we used P-51s at the outbreak of the Korean war.
I can’t wait to see the shape of these planes after so many years. I guess it wasn’t just Saddam who buried planes...
If you google this subject you’ll find other articles referring to very late-Mark Spits. Cannon-armed with Rolls-Royce Griffin engines. These would have been very nasty ground-attack ships.
Late in the war the Japanese invaded India. I think that these planes were buried around that time when the air-strips were under threat of being overrun.
“Ive only seen one ME-262 and that was at the Smithsonian Air and Space museum and I think Britain has at least one.”
The Deutsches Museum in Munich has one. One of the finest museums of science, engineering, and technology that I’ve ever seen.
Can we put in an order for one?
My father participated in that mission with the 315th Heavy Bombardment Wing, out of Guam.
There's one by Jim Smith that says "A gripping account of the final American bombing mission of World War II and how it prevented a military coup that would have kept Japan in "
Is this the one you are talking about?
My father was part of that mission. My dad ended up having to land at Iwo Jima after he lost an engine over Japan. The day he arrived back at Guam the war was over.
I had a friend who's late father-in-law was one of the team that loaded the bomb on the Enola Gay. He found him in some documentary footage!
Thanks for the heads up - I just reserved it.
My father isn't mentioned in the book, but my brothers and I did contact him before he died, and said he remembered my father. (Jim was the radio operator for the B-29 Boomerang.)
My brothers and I also keep in contact with the 315th Bombardment Group, NW Field, Guam. Lots of sons and daughters have taken over for their fathers who have passed away. We try to keep the memories alive of the 315th Group. We had a few e-mails with Jim Smith. He was a delightful man.
Let me know what you think of the book.
You could always build your own.